Autopilots

El Borracho

Sam’s friend
6,426
2,442
Pacific Rim
These are the best pilots I ever found for my boat. Had them installed in the Philippines. Shown here at the wheel. But work great on the old tiller too.  B)

426D3C01-C05C-4B81-B740-54ADEB2D34D4.jpeg

 

Moonduster

Super Anarchist
4,823
229
There are three components to an auto pilot:

  1. Drive
  2. Control head
  3. Instrument interface

So some questions:

  1. What instrument system do you have?
  2. Do you want to be able to drive to AWA and/or TWA?
  3. Is your steering tiller or wheel?
  4. Who will do the installation?
  5. Is your boat 12V or 24V?
  6. Do you plan to race, cruise and/or deliver under auto pilot?
  7. Do you expect the pilot to be able to drive off the wind with a kite up?


 
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jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
While light and only 35' cockpit layout probably precludes having a Tiller AP for all but deliveries, but going to be more expensive with a below deck drive. If already have B&G you might as well follow suit using their Course Computer (that uses TWA or AWA) and also enjoy MFD AP control down below if you have one. Only choice left then is either electric or hydraulic drive where existing power generation/storage setup might help dictate that choice.

 
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Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,257
5,186
Canada
1) Pelagic (now sold by Scanmar). Pretty robust drive units (industrial linear actuator not that crap that Raymarine sells and calls waterproof).
Cheap ($875 US). Spare drive units are dirt cheap at $149 (you have to remove the bracket and electrical plug off old one so not a complete plug and play replacement)https://www.scanmarinternational.com/pelagic-autopilot

Lots of folks in the Singlehanded Transpac used them. No affiliation, just a satisfied early customer .
Just noticed 24V (who has a 24V system on a 35' boat? Queenslanders sigh). Ok you'll need a 24->12V converter too.  

2) The expensive, power hungry because hydraulics (but probably a bit more powerful) solution is this:  http://minitransat650.com/leov/html/autopilots.html

3) We sailed around the world with a Raymarine 4000 GP and a few drives. The rate gyro was great and kept the boat sailing along with a kite quite happily (but it was a catamaran so not at all likely to broach). The Raymarine drives are not robust and let water in, and eventually the motor goes. I bought a Pelagic drive that the Raymarine computer was happy to actuate and had a good solution.

4) it used to be the Single handed transpac people would have a bunch of the cheaper Raymarine tiller pilots and just plug another one in when one died but a 1D35 is a bit too much boat for the Raymarine 2000/Simrad TP32. And with the Pelagic drives, they are nowhere near as good for similar money.

Weak points of all these drives seem to be:

- tiller connection (I snapped pins every 5K miles). Just have a 2nd pin already epoxied in place an inch further aft and keep sailing when pin #1 snaps. You can use 1/4" s.s. machine screws because the diameter is about the same and unscrew when it snaps. The threads make it less fatigue resistant but because it's through bolted through the tiller, much quicker to replace

- electrical plugs for option 3. Stock units are very non corrosion resistant. Had to replace lots of wire where salt water kept wicking into the wires from the connector. Pelagic's connectors are better. Of course option 2 have no electric connectors so a win there

 
Thank you, I appreciate your comments. 

Tried a tiller connection on a TP 52 delivering it after a Hobart with a vastly reduced crew, it was useless in anything over 12 knots. Used a B&G on a Beneteau 40.7 and that was sorta ok

 
While light and only 35' cockpit layout probably precludes having a Tiller AP for all but deliveries, but going to be more expensive with a below deck drive. If already have B&G you might as well follow suit using their Course Computer (that uses TWA or AWA) and also enjoy MFD AP control down below if you have one. Only choice left then is either electric or hydraulic drive where existing power generation/storage setup might help dictate that choice.
Tiller won't work, I agree. We must have reliability and I have been advised best way is below deck, looking at a Hobrt short handed and then a trip across the Tasman in the Sydney to Auckland race

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
Standbye to On will take around 30 seconds to max battery life of remote. More than that maybe a ST/NG firmware issue if are using a S100 in a NG network or the firmware AP itself or maybe marginal RF signal on account of base station location, RFI or something in the backbone like power supply entry point, more than one GPS source etc slowing pairing down.

 
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Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,257
5,186
Canada
Is the rudder shaft exposed below deck? i.e. stuffing box / seal at lower bearing, not an enclosed rudder tube coming up to deck.

Fancy dropping the rudder to cut a keyway in the shaft for a tiller arm (I'm not sure I'd trust a clamp-on quadrant without a keyway)?

If a carbon shaft you could bond on a tiller arm a lot more easily.

 
Is the rudder shaft exposed below deck? i.e. stuffing box / seal at lower bearing, not an enclosed rudder tube coming up to deck.

Fancy dropping the rudder to cut a keyway in the shaft for a tiller arm (I'm not sure I'd trust a clamp-on quadrant without a keyway)?

If a carbon shaft you could bond on a tiller arm a lot more easily.
Not sure, have not bought this yet, doing so shortly. All other advice I have had is under deck

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
Is the rudder shaft exposed below deck? i.e. stuffing box / seal at lower bearing, not an enclosed rudder tube coming up to deck.
Would be unusual if shaft wasn't exposed. Most solutions done to keep raceboats watertight in case of rudder failure/dropping it to avoid tearing bottom out etc are not OEM.

Fitting arm to shaft for drive unit will be substantial chunk of the cost.

 
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